Saturday, September 26, 2015

The best recipe ever for Piccalilli

We love pickles, chutneys, salsas and spicy sauces as accompaniments with a wide variety of foods. Amongst our favourite is Piccalilli however, it has to be home-made. So far I have not found a shop bought version that can come anywhere near the recipe handed down from my great grandmother and probably even earlier.

September views from La Pasera

Each year in September we look forward to harvesting a variety of green vegetables that form the basis of our piccalilli: cucumber, celery, green tomatoes, cauliflower, courgette, onion and anything else that blends in with the mix. The key to a good mix is the fine chopping of the ingredients to ensure that everything is approximately of similar size. The other key components are a specific brand of dry mustard powder (Colman's) and good quality Turmeric.

This is the basic recipe that is tweaked each year to accommodate the vegetables we have available. We usually double these quantities.


1 cauliflower
1 cucumber
3-4 courgettes
2 lb of shallots or onion
2 lb of green tomatoes
1 head of celery

About 6 lb of vegetable in total. Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. The cauliflower should be broken into small sized florets and if small enough, the shallots left whole. Soak overnight in a brine solution made with 8 pints of water and 1/2 lb of salt.

The following day, drain and rinse well, leave to drain and pat dry with a large clean towel whilst you make the sauce.

4 oz of mustard powder
1/2 oz of Turmeric
1 lb sugar (can be reduced if necessary)
2 1/2 pints of vinegar
1 cup of plain flour

Make a sauce with all the ingredients, thicken with the flour and gently bring to the boil to cook out the flour. Be careful not to burn the sauce, stir constantly. Add the dry vegetables and bring to the boil and immediately remove from the heat. Cover and leave to cool. Bottle and seal in sterilised jars the following day and label.

The piccalilli is best left to mature for at least 3 months but it will keep for over a year if kept in a cool dark place and if your bottles/jars are  sterile on bottling. Hide from everyone except your best friends....

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